Centennial helps "at-risk" youth - Macleans.ca

Centennial helps “at-risk” youth

Free six-week courses offered to 100 Scarborough students


After studying at Scarborough’s Centennial College free of charge for six weeks, 100 “at-risk” youth from the area yesterday received certificates as part of the school’s Helping Youth Pursue Education (HYPE) program.

The college approached community-service agencies in Malvern, Kingston-Galloway and Scarborough Village and identified youth aged 13-29 who they thought would fit well in HYPE. Tuition was free, and books, meals and transportation were all covered by Centennial.

The Youth Challenge Fund provided much of HYPE’s funding, donating $450,000 over three years. The YCF is a provincial initiative, the board of which is chaired by former Toronto Argonaut Mike “Pinball” Clemons. HYPE also received funding from Ontario’s First Generation student funding and other private donors.

Now in its fifth year of operation, HYPE offered programs in automobile repair, food service, child studies, office administration, business entrepreneurship and physical education.

Clemons was at the students’ graduation yesterday, where valedictorian Aneesah Mohamed addressed the audience. The Star reported that Mohamed, a Grade-10 dropout and single mother of two young children, will study community and justice services full-time at Centennial in the fall. She hopes to become a juvenile probation officer.

Centennial is providing 30 program participants a $2,500 bursary when they enrol at the college in the fall.

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Centennial helps “at-risk” youth

  1. This ceremony was incredibly touching and inspiring. Centennial College and YCF’s commitment to the Scarborough community is amazing and should be used as a template for all accademic institutions. It also raises an important question. Why are our colleges left to clean up education’s damaged reputation as result of high school teachers neglecting those who are really in need.

  2. Speaking as someone who came from UTSC, just down the street, I think it’s a genuine shame that the University of Toronto Scarborough hasn’t been more involved with the Scarborough community to date. Not to belittle the things that have been achieved (Imani has a great program with the Scarborough East Boys and Girls Club, for example) but when anything happens it’s almost certain to be a student initiative, and nothing on the scale of what Centennial is doing. Administrative meetings at UTSC are long on vague statements about interest in the Scarborough community, and very short on action.

    I’m actually embarrassed that Centennial, in the short time they’ve been our neighbors, has jumped out so far ahead of UTSC that I already hope they can teach us something. I still serve as an alumnus in governance and maybe I can bring this up with someone who’ll listen. It’s about time we show some of the leadership we claim we teach.